Lifetime of Simpsons

S21 E21 – Moe Letter Blues

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Hey everyone, do you want to watch a crazy-ass episode about Homer, Apu, and Reverend Lovejoy trying to figure out which one of their wives is going to have an affair with Moe? Wait, what?

The episode starts off with some narration from Moe, who is telling us all about how much he loves Springfield, and how almost everyone in town ends up at his bar every now and then. Which makes him know a lot about the people of Springfield. Which seems a little dubious, since Moe’s is usually shown to be a weird dive bar that’s almost always empty, but the episode ensures us that it’s usually stuffed with townsfolk.

So, Moe knows a lot about what’s really going on in Springfield, and he’s decided to tell us a tale about romantic issues in Springfield, all centered around Mother’s day. But this isn’t a tryptich episode, instead it’s a weird little episode that’s almost structured like a murder-mystery. And it all begins when Marge learns that Krusty is hosting some sort of Mother’s Day event where dads and kids will be shipped off to some island for the day so the mothers can have a day to themselves. And Marge thinks that this is a great idea.

Marge also seems a little mysterious, saying that there’s something she’s been putting off that she needs to get done. Homer tries to ask what the thing is, but she keeps acting cagey, not telling them what’s going on. Which is when we’re shown that there are several couples with some problems. Homer and Marge, Apu and Manjula, and Reverend Lovejoy and Helen all seem to be having some issues, which narrator Moe lets us in on.

And it all comes to a head when Homer, Apu, Reverend Lovejoy, and all of their kids all pile onto Krusty’s weird cruise and head out to Weasel Island for the day. Because as they’re leaving they’re suddenly given a letter, from Moe, with some horrible information. Moe claims that one of their wives is planning on running away with him, and he won’t say which one it is. And, because they don’t have cell-coverage on Weasel Island, they’re going to have to wait the whole day trying to figure out whose wife is leaving them.

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When they get to Weasel Island and the kids run off to explore all of the terrible activities that have been set up for them by the lunatic carnies, our three fathers decide they need to figure out what’s going on. They’re all sure that their wives wouldn’t be abandoning them, but they decide that they need to figure out what could possibly be happening. So they begin thinking about all of the arguments they’ve had recently, and if their wives could possibly care about Moe.

Homer’s first, and starts to think about problems he may be having with Marge. And he immediately thinks back to Mrs. Bouvier’s 80th birthday, which happened at the Simpson’s house. Homer obviously decided to act like an asshole during the party, getting in a huge fight with Patty and Selma and just generally making a scene. So that’s not great for Homer, especially based on how pissed Marge was after the party.

But Homer isn’t the only one with issues. Lovejoy and Homer point out that Apu did cheat on Manjula once, so he kind of has it coming. Plus, there was a time where Apu, Manjula, and the octuplets were playing cricket when they got caught in a rainstorm. They sought refuge in Moe’s before heading home after the storm. However, when they got home they noticed that they left Gheet behind, and because Manjula was blaming Apu for the whole thing she decides to go back herself, and it took hours for her to come home.

And to make matters worse, it turns out that Homer was at the bar that night, and he remembered seeing Manjula come in and pick up Gheet. She then complained about Apu like crazy, and ended up staying at the bar for hours while Moe played some DDR game with her and Gheet. Which certainly could have laid the seeds of an affair between Manjula and Moe.

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But it also could be Reverend Lovejoy. We see that he’s been ignoring Helen sexually for a while, and there was a particularly hostile moment where Reverend Lovejoy and Helen got into an argument after church, in front of everyone. And it turns out that Apu saw Helen go inside the church and talk with Moe, who began to charm her and talk about how he’s in love with a married woman, and kind of flirts with her when she asks who it is.

So none of that solved anything. They’re now just as confused as they were before they started investigating the possibilities. But, it’s time to leave Weasel Island, where they’ll learn the truth. So the men pile onto the ferry, then Otto’s bus, and await their future. They’re all terrified that they’re going to be the husband whose getting abandoned, and we see as they one-by-one get off the bus and meet their fate.

Homer is first, and when he gets home he finds that Marge is packing a bag. But it’s not to leave him, the bag is full of paint supplies, because she’s been doing a portrait of her mother. Oh, and her mother explained that it was all Patty and Selma’s fault, so Marge is no longer mad at him. Lovejoy is next, who finds some packed bags in his house, and assumes Helen is abandoning him. But in actuality she’s planned a romantic train-based vacation for the two of them. So they’re good, which means Apu is last but not least. He’s really worried, and actually finds Moe waiting in his apartment. But it turns out that Manjula was planning on leaving him, but Moe convinced her not to. He ends up explaining that these three men are lucky enough to be in love, and that they shouldn’t squander it, so he lied to get them to appreciate their wives more. Which is insane, but whatever.

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One thing that’s been really interesting about the last couple of seasons of the Simpsons has been how much the show has been experimenting with form. Back in the day the Simpsons used to play around with structure a lot, making episode that felt unlike things you’d seen. But then we went through a stretch where there didn’t seem to be a lot of experimentation. They found some formulas and just cranked out product. But recently I’ve been seeing a lot of weirder episodes that, while not always being successful, have been trying something new. And that’s something we get today. Yeah, Moe’s justification at the end is kind of ridiculous, but the episode was really unlike anything I’d seen before. It maybe wasn’t the best episode, but I really enjoyed how original and weird it was.

Take Away: Don’t take your significant other for granted.

 

“Moe Letter Blues” was written by Stephanie Gillis and directed by Matthew Nastuk, 2010.

 

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